In the debate over whether Catholic institutions should be forced to pay for insurance that pays for contraceptives and abortions, the question is clouded by the discussion of contraceptives, an emotional issue. The controversy was apparently manufactured (or seized on serendipitously) by the Obama campaign.
The real issue is not whether Catholics should be forced to buy the same kind of insurance as everyone else, but whether anyone should be. Not only is health insurance not the answer to every health purchase, it makes everyone's costs go up the more insurers are required to cover.
For some, it may be that amortizing contraceptive purchases through health insurance makes sense. I don't know everyone's circumstances, but then, neither does Barack Obama, and he's the one trying to impose one solution on everyone. It does seem unlikely that paying insurance premiums so that you don't have to pay cash for contraceptives works out to the favor of anyone but the insurance company.
Hidden behind the argument for mandating contraceptives is the socialization of medical costs. By mandating more and more coverage, the leftists in the Obama Administration want to spread the cost of all medical care among all of society. And one way to do that is with the straw man argument that not mandating coverage is the same as banning the item not covered.
But it makes no sense at all to use insurance to pay for things that we purchase at the same monthly interval as insurance.
Ever been to an open bar? Until the booze runs out, there is a line. Once the booze runs out -- that is, you have a shortage -- the line continues, but some people can't get what they want.
That is always the way when something is (apparently) given away with the price of admission. At first there is a line, then there is a shortage.
But the big problem in all of this is, as I said, that contraception is a distraction. The government is mandating that we buy a financial product and further mandating that it be structured in a certain way.
Without the mandate to purchase health insurance, what health insurance is mandated to cover matters little. The concerned citizen could simply opt out, and save their money to pay their own medical bills -- or pay them off with interest if a major illness struck.
And if health insurance were defined more broadly, that is, as proof that you would not burden society with your medical expenses, it would be an easier pill to swallow. Many people could choose to self-insure, gambling that they would never have to pay out large sums for medical care.
The crushing price of an extended hospital stay -- with multiple doctors and surgeries, expensive medicines, and costly tests -- puts being self-insured out of most people's price range. But larding up the health plans with every benefit imaginable drives up the cost of insurance to the point of being unaffordable anyway. Many people should not take the risk of being uninsured, but cannot afford the insurance with all of the demands placed on insurers.
The whole process should cause Americans to question why their government is involved in the process at all.
The power to compel the purchase of a product will lead in short order for lobbyists demanding that their company's product be given special place in the budget of every business and citizen.
And given the dramatic depths of budgetary malfeasance to which the federal government has sunk to manipulate the economy with taxation and spending, can there be any doubt that the following is inevitable?
That is the end of the power to compel a purchase. It will be a nightmare of economic control, leading to a stagnant economy and national ruin.
And all because people think they have a right to have others to pay for their stuff.